'Rental distancing': Reassure tenants they don't need to attend a check-out

The restarting of the property market comes with many challenges in the new normal of social distancing.

Compliance is one of the key areas that needs to be managed effectively by lettings agents and property managers.
In turn, they rely heavily on their suppliers to represent them and complete work while operating under the restrictions imposed on them by social distancing rules.
Move-in and move-out services are amongst the most challenging as they often require lots of interaction between the relevant parties.
Now landlords and letting agents can reassure renters that they won’t be disadvantaged by not attending check-in at the start of the tenancy, mid-term inspections and check-outs at the end of their tenancy if the inventory is carried out by an independent third party.
No Letting Go, the UK's largest provider of inventory services, says that all parties involved in a rental transaction can adhere to social distancing rules by taking certain precautions and using specialist automated digital services.
The supplier has completely revamped its processes over the past few months and implemented a new norm of zero contact when it comes to moving in, moving out and all mid-term inspections, while still maintaining independence and protecting tenants and landlords.
Nick Lyons, Founder and CEO of No Letting Go, says: “We have always been focused on effective communication to ensure all our services run as smoothly as possible. But in this new world, we have ramped this up a notch to ensure everyone is kept in the picture with more automated contact.”
Lyons adds: “We have added another layer of communication for mid-term inspections and automated all of the sign-in processes for check-in and check-outs. This has given our clients the added reassurance that all inspections are completed with the minimum of contact while ensuring reports are agreed.”
Besides following standard sanitising processes under Covid-19 rules, all visits made by inventory clerks will require the agent or landlord to gain consent from the tenant, and safety checks will be made again by the clerks at the appointment stage.
All parties are actively being encouraged to continue using No Letting Go's DigiSign service, which enables tenants to check any report remotely, note any amendments and sign so that they can be verified.
The tenant is sent automatically scheduled reminders to advise them that the inventory will be deemed accepted if they do not reply within an agreed timeframe (normally 7-14 days).
No Letting Go has expanded the DigiSign service to not only incorporate the signing of inventory at check-in but to verify information with tenants at mid-term inspections and check-out. This gives the tenant the flexibility to be absent when the inspection is completed but still retain the ability to check the information collected and add any comments themselves.
“With social distancing rules here to stay for the foreseeable future, we want to give tenants reassurance they are not disadvantaged if they don't attend any service that requires verification,” explains Lyons.
“Although tenants have a legal right to be present at check-outs, it is not always practical or advisable in the current situation. Independent inventory companies such as No Letting Go can act for both parties, and with DigiSign, tenants can review the document and raise any issues before signing, even if they are not present at the property.”
Lyons adds that there is often confusion amongst tenants about the role of inventory clerks, with many consumers assuming that clerks are responsible for recommending deposit deductions, however this new service will help property managers with negotiation and minimise many questions.
“As well as explaining to tenants how the inventory process can take place while respecting social distancing, automation can make the end of tenancy process smoother and quicker for both tenant and agent,” Lyons concludes.


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